With the aim to make Croduino boards even more popular, known and used in Croatia, e-radionica has held workshops, events, donated the equipment, sponsored events, created a multitude of educational content, etc. But, one thing has always represented a barrier to many - and that is the price. The truth is, we are more expensive than some boards you can find on eBay, but again, more favorable than the original Arduinos. We believe that many of you have had doubts about the purchase.
Before presenting the new generation of Croduino boards, we would like to thank all of you who have shown support in our work so far. Many of you have recognized that the price of the product does not only include hardware, components, costs of making the board, bootloading, electric energy or some other material asset, but also the hard work, effort and time invested into making of the board, before and after its release. Since we are the largest database of educational content in the Croatian language, you can only imagine the amount of effort, hours of writing, testing, connecting, editing photos and videos along with many more activities needed to create such thing. But not only that, the Croduino Days, for example, were visited by more than 300 people, and more than 150 participated in our workshops. There are numerous other activities that take up a lot of our time so that we could continue promoting this type of culture in Croatia.
All your comments, suggestions, remarks and every other message you send have been an inspiration to proceed and fix some things that were "not good enough". The same goes for our new Croduino Basic2.
Croduino Basic2 is a true refreshment in Croduino boards line. As you already know, Croduino boards series are Arduino compatible boards of Croatian origin, which have so far included: Basic, Pico, Damba and Net boards. Basic2 is the first of a new generation of boards based on Atmel's microcontroller Atmega328 and Silabs' USB converter CP2102, and there are many other design-related changes.
Atmel's Atmega328 is a well-known microcontroller which is often used among the makers. There are 22I/O(input/output) pins, of which Basic2 is enabled for all 22 as digital inputs or outputs(digitalWrite / digitalRead), 6 of which have a PWM (analogWrite) option in resolution 0-255, and 8 of them have an analogue input option of 0-1204 (analogRead).
A great and important novelty on Basic2 is the new USB to UART bridge. That part of the electrical circuit enables the communication between the board and the computer in both directions, so the code uploads itself thanks to the already mentioned bridge on the board. Basic2 used CP2102, a product by an American company Silabs, which we use for the stated purpose. It has replaced FTDI's FT232RL which has performed the same work so far. Even though FTDI's IC is more used and popular, through more detailed research we have concluded that the Silabs' IC does the job equally well and quality. Since both of them do the same thing, and CP2102 is more affordable, we were able to lower the price of the board itself.
A great novelty, in any case, is the design. From the old, classic Basic design, we have made a change to the modern design which elegantly emphasizes all the essential things on the board. For example, the pin for gnd now has a white background for easier detection. The tags for digital and analogue pins are different and more modern, and the board already has its recognizeable CROduino mark with the name of the board : Basic2. There is also our logo and the OSH logo. In all, ofcourse, printed headers are also of great help (thank you for feedback!) making it easier to connect cables to the board.
We are especially pleased that we managed to turn the back side of the board from unused space into a recognizeable design. Our logo is on the right side of the board, left is the label of the board, our website, and also we must not forget the label : "Made in Croatia" since we continue our tradition with domestic production of Croduino boards in our workshop.
Another great thing! New Croduino is now adapted for the experimental boards, which means that, if you want to, you can solder male headers and put Basic2 directly to the experimental board and simplify connecting cables.
Open source and drivers
Is the new Croduino Basic2 open-source? Ofcourse, we continue the tradition! The whole design shaped as Cadsoft Eagle files - .brd(printed circuit board design) i .sch(scheme), and .pdf schemes are available in Github repository.
We sure hope that you will like our new board, for the brave ones who have already decided to try it out, we have prepared an initial tutorial to help you install the CP2102 drivers that you will need for communication between the computer and the board.